Name: Loren Reedy Campaign role: Receptionist Hometown: West Side of Chicago, Illinois Organizing in: Chicago, Illinois
Q1. What do you do for the campaign? Right now, my role on the campaign is working the reception desk. I transfer calls like a quarterback between different people. I also make sure everything is secure for the office, and do all kinds of miscellaneous things, like checking the printers, or sorting the mail. I’m pretty much a go-to guy.
Q2. How did you first come to the campaign? I got started in Chicago back in 2003, when I went to an event at Malcolm X College. I knew some politicians were going to be there, and I wanted to make a difference and help cut down on the crime in my community. And then I saw Barack Obama—he made a wonderful speech, and he reminded me of Martin Luther King, Jr. He shook my hand afterwards and I asked for his card, and ever since I’ve been working out of his Chicago office.
I started out with his run for Senate. I got to know him a little bit—he was a really friendly guy, and he was a family kind of person. And he always had his shades on, looking cool—he was always very collected. At first he was a total unknown—most every door I knocked on, people just asked: “Who’s Barack Obama?” I was very inspired by that experience, especially when we won—by a landslide. It was so intense, and there was such unity—that phrase “fired up” hadn’t started yet but at the time, we were basically fired up.
I’ve been volunteering for Barack Obama ever since then—longer than for any other politician. I came to the 2012 campaign when it started on April 4th, 2011, when the office first opened. I was working for the county and there had been layoffs, so I decided this was a great opportunity for me to go full-force for Obama. I was going to come here anyway; people were saying, “You would find any kind of reason to come volunteer for Obama,” and so I think it was destiny. That just opened the door up for me to give it my all to get him elected for his last term.
Q3. What’s your favorite part of your role? I think talking with everyday people who call in and want to find out more about the President is my favorite part of working here. Sometimes I answer peoples’ questions and sometimes I send them to the call center. But a lot of the time people just want to talk to me about whatever issues are important to them. I answer to the best of my ability, using my campaign experience. And I stay up to date by reading about the issues, like women’s health—that prepares me to answer questions the best way I can.
Q4. What’s the most unexpected part of your role? Sometimes I get calls about certain things, like the health care law, and it surprises me that people still believe some of the misinformation the other party throws out. Once people have their minds made up and they won’t accept the facts, it’s really hard to get through to them. But the fact that you can just get your point across is good. They hear me, and maybe they’ll think about what I said, and do some research. But they have to be willing to change.
Q5. Tell us a fun fact about yourself: When I was growing up I envisioned myself being a great basketball player. To stay out of trouble, I’d be the only one on the court—and I’d be out there if it was 90 or 100 degrees, making like I was Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson. Michael Jordan was my favorite player, but the runner-up was Scottie Pippen. I saw myself as a Scottie Pippen because I’ve got the long arms, and my game is like Pippen’s. Back in high school, we’d wait at the gates and ask the players for their autographs—we’d bring gym shoes or something—and I’d call out: “Pippen, Pippen!” I even brought an audio recorder one time and yelled out: “Say something, Pippen!”